Mar 29, 2011

Corn Cooked in a Hot Spring ― Whakarewarewa, NZ

At Whakarewarewa, a real Maori village filled with natural wonders such as active geysers and bubbling mud pools, one can sample sweet corn on the cob cooked in a natural hot spring! Located in Rotorua, New Zealand, Whakarewarewa is also known as "The Living Thermal Village." Auntie San, Uncle Allan and I were lucky enough to chat up some locals in the village cookin' up corn when we visited. They were informative, super-friendly, and downright proud of how successful Whakarewarewa has become (a prime tourist destination in Rotorua).

See the beautiful, crystal-clear/turquoise-y pool of water in the photo above? You'd think it was man-made, wouldn't you? But nope, it's all natural. Look closely and you'll notice steam wafting out of the hot spring. Kooooool, isn't it??! The Maoris living in Whakarewarewa use this particular hot spring to prepare flax and other materials for weaving, and of course to cook food! Just prior to taking that photo, I watched in awe as a Maori lady threw a mesh bag of de-husked, cut-up pieces of corn into the hot spring. I was informed it takes about 25 minutes for the corn to fully cook.

Many of us know how grilled corn tastes, as well as boiled corn, sautéed corn and possibly even fried corn. But the taste of corn cooked in a natural hot spring?????! UNIQUE. For me, the corn was unique not so much in taste, but in texture. When eating boiled corn on the cob, it usually requires quite a bit of teeth action to get the kernels off the cob and into your mouth. Conversely, the corn cooked in the hot spring required very little teeth action, its texture was sorta mushy and almost too soft for my liking! Though its cooking method was kool, nothin' beats grilled corn on the cob!!!

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